Hunting Dog First Aid

First Aid For Outdoor Dogs

Hunting Dog First Aid1.jpgPhoto Credit Margie Anderson

Good Company Care
First Aid For Outdoor Dogs
By Margie Anderson

In South Dakota in 2003, the weather was nice and warm for the opening of pheasant season. Temperatures were in the high 80s to low 90s. Hunters and dogs took the fields joyfully, but estimates are that over 100 hunting dogs died from the heat.

Hunting Dog First Aid2.jpgPhoto Credit Margie Anderson

Here in Arizona, heat can also be a major problem for outdoor dogs. Add cactus, sharp rocks, barbed wire, and rattlesnakes, and you can see that there are plenty of opportunities for your partner to be injured. You can reduce the chances of injury by taking preventative measures, and by being prepared to deal with any emergencies that may arrive.

Boots Are Best Boots are the best way to keep your dog s feet protected from sharp rocks, cactus, and other spiny plants. They also protect the pads from blisters that can result from walking on hot surfaces.

Hunting Dog First Aid2.jpgPhoto Credit Margie Anderson

Avoid heat stroke by keeping your pet home when it is hot out, and by carrying plenty of water for your pooch even in cooler weather.

If you have neglected to put boots on your dog, and his pads get blistered or cut up, apply some triple antibiotic ointment and slip some socks on his feet to keep the pads clean. Tape (even duct tape) will keep the socks on.

Rattlesnake Bites Can Kill
Rattlesnake bites can be fatal even if you can get your dog to the vet quickly. Red Rock Biologics has a rattlesnake vaccine that is now available nationwide. The vaccine is given in two shots one month apart, then a booster shot is given once a year or more, depending on a variety of conditions, such as the size of the dog and how often it may be exposed to possible snake bites. Contact your vet s office or visit

Scrapes, Cuts, And More
The injuries your dog is most likely to get are scrapes and cuts. These can be treated in the field by cleaning them and applying some EMT Gel or a bandage. Large or deep cuts or scrapes should be seen by a vet. Even if your dog isn t losing a lot of blood, infection can be nasty.

Adventure Medical Kits ( has a product called Quikclot that will stop even very heavy bleeding. It could save your dog s life in the field, and packages range in price from just $10 to $30

A hunting dog is likely to be charging through deep weeds and brush, so it s fairly common for them to get foreign bodies in the eye. Thorough flushing with saline solution will often help wash out seeds and such, but if that doesn t do the trick, you re better off taking pooch to the vet. If you attempt to remove something from the eye by yourself, you re likely to do more harm than good.

Get To The Vet
If your dog is seriously injured, obviously you need to get him to the vet as quickly as possible. If you happen to be close to home, that s easy. If you are in a different part of the state, you can call the Arizona Veterinarian Medical Association at 602.242.7936 to find a vet nearest you.

After hours, things get more difficult. There are several 24-hour emergency animal clinics in the Phoenix and Tucson area, so you might want to make sure that the number to one of them is stored in your cell phone. If regular vet offices are closed, an emergency clinic can probably help you find the closest place to get help for your pet.

Whether your canine partner is a hunting buddy or just goes along for hikes, you should always carry a first aid kit and plenty of water. First aid kits for dogs are available at sporting goods stores in the Valley. If you spend most of your outdoor time close to home, you can get by with just a basic kit.

First Aid Kits For Dogs
For hunters who might be far from help, there are deluxe first aid kits that even have staples and hypodermic needles in case you have to stitch up your dog.

No matter how gentle and loving your dog usually is, remember that if he is hurting, he may bite without even meaning to. If your first aid kit doesn t contain a muzzle, add an old pair of pantihose to the bag. You can use them to tie the dog s muzzle closed.

Also, the first aid kit will probably come with a booklet telling how to use everything in there. Read it before you go out, so you re not trying to learn under duress.

Not all injuries can be prevented, but you can be prepared. You owe it to your dog to make sure you are ready to help him or her when your buddy needs you most.

Editors Note
An avid outdoors woman and pet lover Chelle Brookes pointed out to us on the Outdoors Arizona radio show last Saturday that you also need to bring plenty of money in case of an unplanned visit to the emergency vet.

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